Thursday, September 27, 2012

I want to remember

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I want to remember waking before the alarm, the way it always feels like I won a prize if I rise before its noise. The quiet in the dark morning, only Duke our dog nodding to me as I quietly leave to work out.

I want to remember that at 42, still as always discontent with so much about myself physically, I am strong and healthy with so much to be grateful for despite my own discontent. I want to remember the way Kathy and I laugh on our way to and from the gym, and how good it is to have a friend to meet. Without her, the alarm clock would surely win.

I want to remember even the rush, the stress to get five people fed and dressed, the way Brian and I pass the baton of lunch-making so he can get in the shower, the last-minute chaos of Aidan discovering/remembering it’s his turn to fill the class “estimation” box two minutes before his bus arrives, the way Sean combs his own hair, and Nolan’s joy as we choose pants instead of shorts for the first time in months and discover they are all at least two inches too short.

I want to remember finding scraps of paper and scissors on every flat surface during this season of Origami that has taken over our home. Thank you very much, Tom Angelberger. Aidan asking me to scan in his own precise directions for his version of Origami Yoda---the way he did this with more care, neatness and completeness because it was an assignment born of his own mind and heart than he ever would apply to a school assignment. I want to remember the way he smiled, teasing me that he was making something just for me, and hours later presented me with my own Han Solo.

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I want to remember time alone with Duke, driving me insane one minute as his sticks his nose over my hand on the keyboard, as if to say, “wouldn’t you rather play outside?” and grateful for him the next, as I kick his soccer ball across the yard and watch him pounce on it, and then bring it back to me with his tail wagging and his head held high, king of the ball once again.

I want to remember Brian calling, moving up our lunch time, and this rare respite hour in our lives, three days a week when Nolie is at preschool and we have time to eat alone together, talk uninterrupted, finish our sentences.

I want to remember the mountains’ aspen glowing in the distance, the shock of snow on the peaks, the smell of long-awaited rain on the sidewalk, Nolan’s proud cup filled with rolly pollies and the bounty he brings home from school---last week a sailboat he made and painted himself with “real tools,” then a felt mouse he filled with rice, yesterday homemade apple sauce with cinnamon, and today a silkie he dyed with marigolds, especially for his dad.

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I want for so much, for things big and small. For a piano, for an empty inbox, for our basement to be magically finished. For our children to grow up strong and well-loved, for a peace-filled world to send them into, and always, for more time---time to read, to explore, to spend with my dad, to be alone. But mostly, I want to remember the light streaming in and how lovely things are, how surrounded I am by love. Not only to remember, but to see it here and now while it is right in front of me and not behind or far in the future.

This post was inspired by Katrina Kenison’s, whose was inspired by Lindsey’s from A Design So Vast,  who based hers on Ali Edwards, who has inspires my memory-keeping and blogging from day one. She’s hosting a link party to those who took up her challenge to journal about what’s happening in your life today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back Again

Not totally sure what I am doing with the blog, In The Common Hours, any more. When my mom died in the spring, it became a more private place. And then I turned to actual private places to write in my grief, not here. When I have a post that seems fit for public eyes, I find myself posting it to my work blog. It feels easier to justify the time to post, I'm able to carve out time when I tell myself, 'it's for work.' Otherwise I think of a moment, a story, I'd like to capture here on the blog but the space and time to do it never arrives and has to be taken. Right now, the time I can take is spent else where.

And when I do arrive here, I feel overwhelmed with grief. Not that I've written that much about Mom here, but because I did write so freely here. Or maybe it is just because of the soundtrack of this blog this year.

I wish I could remember whom exactly I shared my private blog site with...not many, but now that I've become so self-indulgent with it, more than I wish. Thankfully there are only a handful who read it and I know each of you are forgiving and kind. I would like to continue for all the same old reasons, but need to figure out where, when and so on. Most likely I will combine my personal and my professional blogs now. Choose which posts from here would be okay to share there? I don't know.

I know I'll keep this blog through December at least. I'm pleased to have posted every month so far this year, and want to round out 2012 having at least done that.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Moab Newborn: Sweet Adaline

I learn something from every shoot. Some times it's about light and exposure, and what time of day is optimal to catch great light from one small hospital window. And sometimes it has nothing to do with photography at all.

Sweet Adaline was lovely and she wasn't crying. But she was restless. Her adoring grandmother soothed her. I got to photography this sweet newborn next to one of my favorite Irish symbols, the claddagh.

And then we placed her into her mother's arms. You could see her little body physically relax and her head immediately turned to her mother's. She was home again. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moab Newborn: Darling Mr. Easton

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I fell hard for this little guy. New parents always make me feel so privileged to have this job, to share even a few moments in their first days as a family of three. Darling Mister Easton was just a day old young here, and oh so cooperative!

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I got the impression little Easton is already right at home here in Moab, in his mom and dad’s arms.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Gratitude

Brian's fire photo

1. Brian’s home.

2. No more wildfire fighting this season…we hope!

3. No homes or lives were lost on the fire his team was fighting in Montana---alleluia!

4. The boys and I survived eighteen days without their dad. Aidan was a big help to me while his dad was away, and Nolan & Sean were super sweet (though their days of sneaking into my bed at night are over!).

5. Time apart always makes me keenly aware how blessed we are to be together. Today we hiked halfway to Morning Glory Bridge. The weather couldn’t be more beautiful in Moab right now. Our boys are in a rhythm of playing with each other so well, and even Duke has mellowed a bit. Life is good.

One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, was on Katie Couric’s new show last week and talked about “foreboding joy”---a concept my mom often referred to as The Good Earth habit, based on Pearl S. Buck’s novel where the parents would down-play any good in their lives or in their children---as if celebrating our joy might invite misfortune. I have this bad habit---of looking for the disappointment around the corner, as if foreseeing it will take the edge off. It doesn’t, and that thinking just robs us of the joy present right now and right here.

You can hear Brene explain it much better than I can here:

I hope you are encouraged to celebrate the joy in your life. Please share what you are most grateful for today in the comments!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Behind the Lens with Jennifer Bertoch

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When I started DOK Photography, a friend described our little town as being saturated with photographers. I hadn’t found any doing what I wanted to do specifically, but regardless, I believe we have a choice to encourage community over competition.

I am happy to see more people hiring any of the local professionals to photograph their family’s milestones---I believe it will raise the awareness and appreciation of great portrait photography, which is good for all of us.

I hope to feature a different local photographer (both professional and hobbyist) each season in this Behind the Lens series. The more acquainted you are with all the photographers available, the better you will be able to find the one that suits your style. That’s also good for all of us!

A huge thanks to Jennifer Bertoch for kicking off the series! I first met Jennifer last February, shortly after she had relocated from Salt Lake City, and was immediately enchanted by her photography and her generosity. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit better here too. Be sure to check out her website: Jennifer Bertoch Photography, her blog, and her facebook page.

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How did your passion for photography start/develop?

I remember being a teenager and having a fascination with light. I loved watching it in the evening, and how it changed through the day and seasons. I remember wanting to capture it. I was a horrible artist, so I couldn't paint. I just wanted to express what I saw, and how it made me feel. Photography became my medium. One of my favorite quotes says, "The desire to create is the deepest yearning of the human soul." This desire to create is what drives me.  This is what fuels my passion for photography.

What’s one of your most recent or favorite photo purchases?

I just got some new backdrops for my studio. I finally unpacked all my gear and I am just about finished with my little studio space. It’s so exciting! I'm saving up for a few things on my wish list though... namely a tilt shift lens and the new Nikon D800 that came out! A girl can dream... right? ;)

What brought you to Moab?

Family! We were so thrilled with the opportunity to live near family! My dad owns Accommodations Unlimited (condo rental company) and my husband works with him. We live down the street from my parents. My husband and I made the decision to leave our life, friends and everything in Salt Lake and start a new life here. I lived in Salt Lake my whole life. The decision to leave was really scary for me. I knew nobody here (other than my parents, who were pretty new to Moab themselves) 6 weeks later, our house was sold and we were packing our boxes and heading to Moab. We never looked back. We love it here!

What’s something you wish you had known when you first started your business?

It’s not really directly related to my business, but it’s to be yourself! When I was just starting out as a photographer, I wanted to be _____ (insert whoever is a photog 'rockstar'). The best thing I ever did for myself was to really learn the fundamentals and shoot for me. Shoot what inspires me. Shoot as I see. I could teach someone everything I know, but our photographs would never be identical. We are all unique and that is what makes the photography community so beautiful!!

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What is your favorite kind of photo shoot?

I love styling photoshoots. Planning all the glorious details. (think a camping set up- complete with lanterns, red plaid blankets etc... or a lemonade stand... lemons, the cute paper striped straws, little bunting banners) And while stylized shoots are fun, sometimes it is great to just take a photo journalistic point of view. Step back... capture life as it happens. Sometimes I will pick a day to photograph. I photograph things like breakfast, our trip to the library, naps, just our every day routine. It pushes me... forces me to see things differently. And, I know that someday I will look back and cherish the days with my little ones.

What are some of the creative ways you’ve found to juggle being a mother/business owner/
photographer in Moab?

Oh this is hard! I'm always trying to keep balance. It takes such effort, and I so often feel the scales tipping in one direction. Sometimes, I just have to silence my phone and shut my computer. Take the kids out to the park, or to get a snow cone. Being a mother is the most important job title to me. This means that I often sacrifice sleep to get 'my' stuff done. Its hard... but we try and make it work! I also try to include my children in my work. In shooting commercial work (shooting for Etsy vendors etc), I bring my kiddos along. They will model for me, hold my reflector. I want to teach them to see the beauty in every day!

If you were having your family photographed, what location in Moab would you choose?

Anything with beautiful light!! I’m a sucker for fields, run down barns, orchards, the mountains... I'm always finding new places I'd love to shoot at. I really, really want to head up into the La Sals when the aspen trees turn and do family photos there! (think: Christmas card, rich warm colors, cute boots...)

Random facts about Jennifer:

- Favorite Sweet Treat: Diet Coke!! I could drink this ALL day long. I also loooove chocolate cake. Oh, and let’s not forget cupcakes either.

- Favorite song to play loud in the car: I have XM radio, and I am always listening to either KIIS (LA's pop radio station) or Highway Country. And when I’m alone in the car... I sing too. I’m sorry if you are next to me at the stop light. ;)

- Three things that always make me happy: Getting out and having fun with my family, Diet Coke (see... I have a problem!) and summertime- running through the grass barefoot!

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Thank you, Jennifer, for kicking off our series and for sharing your amazing work with us. Check out more of Jennifer’s gorgeous images at Jennifer Bertoch Photography!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Gratitude

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”

There have been some dark days here lately, as we learn of friends facing serious illness and others facing terrible loss. I need gratitude most during such times.

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1. For these three silly boys, for their wonderful teachers and for a great first week of school.

2. Roma. Cherry. Heirloom. For the tomatoes gracing our garden and table.

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3. Order out of chaos. I have a couple predictable reactions to times of stress. One is to treat chocolate as its own food group. Another, with better results, is to declutter and reorganize. This time it began in the boys’ bedroom, traveled to the toy closet, the playroom and finished in my bathroom drawers. We may run out of frozen peppermint patties, but we’ll never run out of stacks of books to put away.

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4. Friends, near and far. Nolie had a great playdate painting with this sweet friend while I took photos of an adorable baby this week. A real, hand written letter arrived yesterday (and included a bar of dark, salted chocolate!). Witnessing people trying their best, putting love into action, that is what makes things worthwhile.

5. A wonderful, mostly peaceful, very fun summer. I asked each boy, including Brian, to list their favorite summer memories and we came up with this graphic, thanks to


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